Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer

An estate planning lawyer helps you prepare legal documents to ensure your assets and property pass as you want. When choosing an attorney, look for one who makes estate planning their primary practice area.

Attorney fees vary depending on where you live and how complex your situation is. However, there are several vital things to consider when shopping around.

Peace of Mind

An estate planning lawyer in Sebastian, FL, can help you avoid family disputes, prevent expensive court battles, and ensure your loved ones are cared for as you would like. It can feel disturbing or even morbid to think about death and incapacity, but without a proper plan in place, your wishes may not be carried out as you expect.

When choosing an estate planning attorney, asking about their background and experience is essential. They should have a strong understanding of federal and state law concerning estates, wills, and trusts. In addition, they should be able to explain any legal jargon or terminology you may need help understanding.

Determining whether they offer a flat fee or an hourly rate is also essential. This will help you budget for the services that they will provide. Finally, it is a good idea to find out if they belong to any professional organizations, as this often indicates that they are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest developments in estate planning.

Avoid Probate

When you die, your estate will consist of everything you own — from your home and car to your personal belongings and financial assets like investment accounts, life insurance policies, and bank account balances. However, not all your assets need to go through probate. You can avoid probate on assets placed in trusts, those owned jointly by you and another person (including a spouse), and those with beneficiary designations.

Probate is a lengthy process that involves authenticating a will left behind, appointing an executor, and distributing assets to beneficiaries as per state law or according to your wishes in your will. An estate planning lawyer can help you find strategic ways to bypass probate, saving your loved ones time and money. They also help protect your privacy by keeping estate planning documents private. This is important because a public record of your estate can expose details about your wealth to others. This could lead to unnecessary family conflicts.

Minimize Taxes

When an estate plan is drafted correctly, it can minimize taxes for beneficiaries. A lawyer specializing in this area can advise you about strategies. They can also work with your family, financial planners, and insurance agents to ensure your plan meets your goals.

When you meet with potential estate lawyers, listen carefully to their answers and ask questions. They should be able to explain the law understandably. Also, determine whether you feel comfortable with them talking about personal matters.

Be wary of any attorney keeping their fee range private from your appointment. This could indicate that they offer only a cookie-cutter approach to their services. An experienced attorney can give you a clear idea about the cost of their services based on the specifics of your case. Then, you can decide if the fee is appropriate for your budget. If not, you can always look elsewhere for a lawyer.

Protect Your Assets

The attorney can help you set up trusts and other mechanisms to minimize taxes and protect your assets. They can also advise you on how best to provide for family members with special needs without losing eligibility for government services, such as Medicaid.

Your attorney will have years of experience navigating the legal process. They can help break down the legal jargon that may be difficult for family members to understand.

Look for an attorney who specializes in estate planning. They will have experience with local laws and procedures and state-specific laws. They will be up to date on changes in the law and know how those changes can affect your situation. You should also listen to how the attorney interacts with you and determine whether you feel comfortable discussing personal and emotional information with them. This will be important when discussing your final wishes and creating a plan. The more comfortable you are, the better the process for all involved.

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